Letter to the Editor

Mass shootings

Sunday, August 4, 2019

I was watching multiple reports on the horrible double mass shootings Saturday. I send my sympathy to the people effected, knowing how hollow words are at this time. And it won't be news again until the next mass shooting.

I did notice a big discrepancy in reported numbers of mass shootings in the U.S. It appeared Fox News reporting is selective, resulting in an appearance that it's not as big a problem as it really is. Why? Do they want it to look like guns are not a problem? Their TV news showed a total of only four mass shootings in the U.S. this year before Saturday. Only six in 2018 and only five in 2017. They only reported cases where four-plus people were killed. So the recent Garlic Festival shooting didn't count because only three were killed. Why only four-plus? What about the injured? They're mass shootings! Not just mass killings. Even their written articles cite low numbers based on very restrictive info. The victims and thinking people know better. Who's the real fake news? Don't believe distorted Fox News!

As usual, reasons are being debated. And Fox News falsely brought up video games/movies as a cause. These games are played in Australia, Japan, Europe, Asia, South America, etc. but mass shootings only happen in epidemic numbers in the U.S. because of easy access to weapons of war.

From 2009 through 2018, right-wing extremists accounted for 73% of such killings, per the Anti Defamation League, compared with 23% for Islamists and 3% for left-wing extremists. Where is the outrage that most terrorist attacks and deaths in the United States are caused by white extremists? There's hesitance to even call the attacks terrorism. If the El Paso shooter had been Muslim, wrote down thoughts like that shooter's and found to visit web sites encouraging/discussing terrorist acts like the ones the shooter visited, all reporting would have started with “Terrorist Attack.”

In April 2009, the Obama administration’s Department of Homeland Security released a report warning that this would happen. “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” warned that “rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues.” It also predicted that the possibility of new gun restrictions and the return of “military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities” might mean “emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.” The report called this convergence of factors the “most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.”

Six ways to prevent far-right extremist violence:

1. Acknowledge the problem.

2. Gather and publish credible statistics.

3. Collaborate with European and nongovernmental partners.

4. Call out rhetoric that radicalizes.

5. Remove hate content from private platforms.

6. Ensure that law enforcement has the tools it needs to combat domestic terrorists.

Until the next mass shooting ... please try and stay safe.

— Diane Smith, Spencer